Land development has become a contentious issue in New Zealand due to a growing population, as residential projects have threatened to take over land used for agriculture purposes.
The rapid pace of population growth has led to the rezoning of rural soil into country-style residential communities in some areas. As a result, the value of land has increased three-fold that has made it harder for some farmers and growers to buy property for horticulture.
Those who plan to develop residential properties in remote areas should ideally mitigate risk by seeking advice from environmental consultants. In Auckland, this need becomes more evident in southern regions such as Pukekohe where new subdivisions now sit in land that used to be for growing fresh produce.
The national government will need to create a long-term plan for the booming population, especially in Auckland, according to Paul Spoonley, Massey University’s pro-vice chancellor of humanities and social sciences. The city’s population increased by 42,700 to 1.6 million in the 12 months ended June 2017, according to data from Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ).
Peter Dolan, Stats NZ’s population statistics senior manager, said that the higher population in Auckland led to a similar trend in nearby regions such as Waikato and Northland. Migration primarily caused the increase, Dolan added. Immigrants comprised more than 70 per cent of the population nationwide in the year ending June, according to the data.
On the contrary, the population in the West Coast decline due to a smaller net migration. Its population has dropped to 32,400 people in 2017 from 33,100 in 2012.
The government should take action on the increasing problem of agricultural land being converted into residential communities. While a growing population has its advantages, fertile soil for raising crops is still necessary to feed more people.